Making My Plan (Part 2)
I hope you enjoyed my husband’s guest post. Today, it’s back to me! Today I will show you how I take my goals from ideas to action. As a quick reminder, the goals I set in my previous post were:
- Lose 7 lbs to return to my usual body weight
- Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure to normal ranges
- Increase cardiovascular fitness from “fair” to “good”
- Improve posture by stretching chest, hip flexors, and decreasing anterior pelvic tilt, while strengthening back muscles.
Some really great news about the goals I have set is that goals #1-3 all work together really nicely. All in all, I need to improve my cardio and that is also one of the key parts of a balanced weight-loss plan, so I won’t have to do double-duty on exercise there. Goal #4 is a little different and will involve some specific stretching and targeted strengthening exercises. Before I get into the nitty gritty of how I plan to achieve my goals, I’m going to start by asking myself some of the same questions I ask my clients. These questions help me make appropriate suggestions/decisions about the types of plans that are most likely to work for each individual person. Here are my answers:
My personality: I’m a nerd! Epitome of a type-A personality, I love to organize, have a plan, and make lists. I love structure but I also love variety and I love to have fun!
My lifestyle: I’m primarily working from home now, which makes cooking and food prep much easier, as well as scheduling in time to exercise. In the past, I have used a food tracker to help me meet nutrition goals but I’m not really feeling like tracking right now. Despite my nerdy, type-A personality, I would like to use something with more flexibility that is a little less labor intensive since I’m focusing a lot of my detail-oriented energy on my business.
My true confession: I ask clients this question to learn what kinds of things they think are likely to be “bad” or that they think might hold them back from their goals. In reality, it’s so I can make sure to find out the foods or exercises they feel very strongly about (for or against!) and make sure to tailor their plan accordingly.
For me? I love chips! A lot. And ice cream.
I also do not care for cardio, in a general sense. I get bored! I need more mental stimulus than a treadmill, elliptical, or jog offers to distract me from thoughts of, “when can I stop doing this????” It doesn’t help that I’m so out of cardio shape now that it hurts to do vigorous cardio. For a cardio plan to work for me, it’s going to have to include fun and variety – lots of variety. And maybe some social interaction. That helps a lot too!
Goal #1: Lose 7 pounds
This one will obviously take focus on both exercise and nutrition. I’ll discuss exercise more in goals 2-3. I’ll cover nutrition here.
Since I’m not feeling like tracking intakes right now, I’m opting for a more flexible option. My easy-to-use nutrition plan was born after I calculated the recommended amount of calories for a day to lose 1 lb per week, then translated that into portion sizes from each food group for balanced and well-rounded nutrition. That essentially leaves me with a quick-and-easy checklist of portion sizes, like so:
The list is designed to give me extra “slush calories” for treats, condiments, or whatever (like chips and ice cream!) so I don’t have to feel deprived or restricted.
Goals #2-3: Decrease heart rate and blood pressure, Improve cardiovascular fitness
The primary way I’m opting to attack these areas is by working on my cardiovascular endurance, as I happen to know that it is the primary cause of my increased heart rate and blood pressure. With cardiovascular training, you can decrease your resting heart rate, and decrease the work of your heart. Essentially, your heart becomes a stronger and more efficient muscle the more you train it.
Since cardio can be boring for me, I’m keeping my plan open to allow for several different types of cardio including (but not limited to):
- Cardio dancing videos from Youtube
- P90X DVDs with my husband
- Kickboxing DVDs
- Scottish Highland Dancing (an old pastime I break out every so often)
- Climbing a mean steep flight of local stairs
I’m going to make my action plan include getting my heart rate to a goal range (115-155 bpm) doing 40-60 minutes of any of the above cardio options 5 days per week. That way, I can choose what I prefer to do that day based on my mood and I’m less likely to be bored or skip.
Goal #4: Improve posture/target muscle imbalances
For this one, I was fortunate enough to have my dear yoga teacher friend Jessica at Zesa Wellness design a personalized, anti-desk job yoga practice to help me open my chest and hip flexors and strengthen my back. I’m planning to do this practice 5 days per week.
I have also designed a strength training program that targets my the muscles up and down my back. In general, I don’t recommend strength training programs that aren’t balanced (where they only train one muscle group or one side of the body), but this is my one exception. When I know there is already a muscle imbalance, I will sometimes temporarily train the weaker side only for a few weeks to help balance things out before incorporating a more balanced plan that trains the whole body. I’m going to complete this strength training plan twice weekly.
To sum it up, my plan looks like this:
Goal #1: Lose 7 lbs to return to my usual body weight
- Use my daily food group checklist to stay within and get enough food from each food group each day.
Goals #2-3: Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure to normal ranges and increase cardiovascular fitness from “fair” to “good”
- Complete 40-60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise (heart rate 115-155 bpm) 5 days per week
Goal #4: Improve posture by stretching chest, hip flexors, and decreasing anterior pelvic tilt, while strengthening back muscles
- Complete yoga practice 5 days per week
- Complete strength training program 2 days per week
I realize that may sound like a lot to commit to, but remember that I’m working from home and have quite a bit of control over my schedule. That’s one of the strengths of my current lifestyle that I’m taking advantage of with this plan!
Up next: Part 2 of Making My Husband’s Plan!